With election right around the corner, the FNM can’t seem to get it’s act together. Party in fighting continues and the party is regularly in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Former Member of Parliament for the FNM Pierre Dupuch has an interesting and troubling theory about what is going on in the party.
Take it away Pierre,
The formation of the Bahamian Government is fashioned around the British Westminster System – with several variations. The Bahamian Constitution calls for a party system where the Leader of the Party which has the majority of seats in the House of Assembly is called by the Governor General to be the Prime Minister.
On the other hand, under the British system, the member of Parliament who has the majority of votes in Parliament is called to be Prime Minister.
For a strong country, we must have both a strong governing party and a strong opposition. Without both, neither can or will perform for the good of the country. This is true whether the governing party is the PLP, FNM or DNA.
Each Party, in convention or at a national council meeting, votes for its leader who, if the party wins, will be the next Prime Minister.
In the case of the FNM, history appears to be repeating itself. Every time it is on the eve of victory, it shoots itself in the foot. I saw it happen in both the 1977 and 1987 elections with Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield. History is repeating itself with Dr. Hubert Minnis.
In Convention, where all members of the Party vote for its Leader, Dr. Minnis was elected as Leader. At the time, the media predicted that Loretta Butler-Turner would win. She lost three to one. Rather than rallying around the winner, a small group that didn’t get their way started nipping at the heels of the winner, Dr. Hubert Minnis.
Over the months, this has caused a lot of disruption in the Party. It has split the FNM and weakened it. They insist that the people’s wish not be followed; they insist that they must run the party.
This is not unusual. They could not control Sir Cecil and so they tried to destroy him. They could not control me and were able to keep me out of front line politics for twenty years. Now, they can’t control Dr. Minnis and so they are trying to destroy him. What fools! How short sighted! How selfish!
They are killing the Party, not uniting it. It appears that some of these individuals are willing to hurt the party if they can’t get their way. Even though Dr. Minnis won at the convention by more than three to one, they still insist that he must go.
But is there a more subtle motive? Are some of them trying to cause such dissention and chaos in the Party that at the upcoming FNM convention Hubert Ingraham will walk to the middle of the floor (as he did with Tommy Turnquest) and declare, “I’m here, I’ll save the day.” It’s probable and possible. I hope I’m wrong.
But let us look at history and then we may be able to see what may be happening today. In my opinion, Hubert Ingraham, is running again. On the evening he resigned (after his party lost the last election) and said he was not coming back, I turned to my wife and said: “dont believe it.”
Now, let’s look at his history. Shortly after Sir Cecil’s death, Ingraham became Leader of the FNM. It was a time when the people had had enough of the PLP. Sir Lynden Pindling had been Prime Minister for twenty five years. There was unrest and the first person who said that he wanted just two terms would have been like a magnet to the weary voter.
Ingraham knew this and so he promised two terms. On hearing this, the people flocked to the FNM. We won. And the people were convinced that they had finally found a man of his word.
When his last term approached, he publicly said to the people that it would be his last term as Prime Minister if he was re-elected. The people trusted him and so he won again.
As the end of his second term approached, all sorts of trial balloons for a third term were sent up, and none flew. And so a scheme was devised to fool the voter. The positions of “Leader Designate” and “Deputy Leader Designate” were proposed and a convention was held.
I proposed to the Council that the first order of business at the Convention should be to ratify the two positions, which would make them a legally binding part of the FNM Constitution. If the positions were properly ratified, persons would then be legally elected to fill them. What in fact happened was that the positions were NOT ratified. Despite this, an election was held, and the positions were filled. This meant that individuals were elected to positions in the FNM that did not legally exist.
Hubert Ingraham (who was still legally the Leader) said that it was not necessary to ratify the positions because he was not running again. The crowd cheered him and ignored what I had to say. He remained Leader.
The general election was called. Tommy Turnquest and Dion Foulkes had been named “Leader Designate” and “Deputy Leader Designate.” If the FNM won, the Governor General would have to, by Law, ask the Leader of the FNM to form the new government.
Who was the Leader of the FNM? Hubert Ingraham was. He would have had his third term!
After all, the positions of “Leader Designate” and “Deputy Leader Designate” were a sham. In law, they did not exist; they had not been ratified by the convention. Hubert Ingraham, a lawyer, knew this. Pretty smart move, eh? The people had been fooled!
In the end, the FNM lost and Ingraham served the following term in opposition. He always signed in but was seldom present. He blamed Tommy for everything that went wrong. There was confusion and no clear Leader.
When it became clear that the PLP had fumbled the ball and the FNM was in a shambles, a convention was held just before the election. Ingraham said he was not interested in the Leadership of the party. He played cute. He said, within hours of the final minute, that he definitely was not interested and would not run.
And then the time came. There was a schism in the Party. Tommy had been weakened over the years. Hubert Ingraham walked in and claimed that he would save the Party.
Everyone, except me, was surprised.
Fast forward to today’s events. Is there a similar and familiar move afoot?
When it happens, if it does happen, I hope that the Bahamian people will act on the old Chinese proverb, “first time shame on you; second time shame on me,” and send Hubert Ingraham marching!
I believe that if we are going to have parties, we should have strong parties, PLP, FNM, or DNA.
People say Dr. Minnis has no charisma. Aren’t we tired of that? People say Dr. Minnis is not a good speaker. Aren’t we tired of that, too?
In fact, Dr. Minnis is both a successful doctor and businessman. Is that not what we are looking for?
I recently spoke to Dr. Minnis and asked him what his position would be on crime. He stressed emphatically that crime must stop and that he would start investigating at the political level.
I smiled and asked how he would handle some of his buddies. He answered, “did you hear what I said?” That was good enough for me.
I understand that Dr. Minnis’ tough position on political corruption has caused stomach problems for some persons in the political establishment – but that’s their problem.
If I lived in Delaporte, I would vote for and support Dr. Hubert Minnis. If I were still a member of the FNM, I would also support Dr. Hubert Minnis as Leader of the FNM.
Stop the foolishness! Get serious.
Very interesting theory indeed. What do you think, Is Mr. Dupuch accurate in his assesment of what is going on with the FNM?